CHENNAI: Medha Patkar, social activist and the national convener of the National Alliance of People’s Movement on Tuesday said that all the vested interests that benefited from the 2G scam should be exposed as they have swindled public money to further their cause.
“The scam money was used for starting distilleries in the name of Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar at SIPCOT. This is people’s money. This should be exposed,” she told the gathering at Thervoy Kandigai in Tiruvallur district.
She began her tour at Thervoy to express solidarity and also to provide a fresh momentum to people’s struggles as the state gets ready to vote.
In Thervoy, the struggle started four years ago when the SIPCOT forcibly acquired 1,205 acres of agricultural and forest lands. This would reportedly affect 22 villages around this area. Speaking at the public rally attended by villagers around the area, she said, “ We will bring Jairam Ramesh, the Union Environment Minister here and show him the real situation. We won’t give up the struggle for our lands.”Later, she addressed a slum dwellers demonstration near the Memorial Hall demanding that the government stop the eviction of slums for development projects like the Elevated Express Highway and the Cooum clean-up.
She said, “It is the same voice, the same demand from the poor that I am hearing in Pune, Mumbai, Bhopal, Nagpur, Thervoy and in Chennai. The people who live in slums and urban townships are not given economic, political and social space. The state is trying to push us to the margins, bulldozing our needs. We need to organize at the national level and continue this battle.” She added, “Raja is walking free after the 2G scam. Today with all the development projects like the Express Highway, development planning has become the largest scam sweeping the poor like a tsunami. We must fight the battle, even if it means going to court. People’s lands and homes were grabbed in the guise of infrastructure development. That is why it is time for us to do more to expose illegal encroachment of land by politicians, like we did in the case of Lavasa.” She also suggested that the right to development planning be given to the people.Slum dwellers, who lost their homes or are on the verge of displacement, expressed their anger, she said and added that this was going to be a major issue in deciding votes this election.
Later she met Governor Surjit Singh Barnala and apprised him of the struggles happening at Thervoy and the slum evictions at Chennai. She also addressed fisherfolk at Thiruvanmiyur kuppam and discussed their issues.